While stressing that a state of emergency still exists in regard to the 15 Mile Road sewer
collapse and sinkhole, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice S. Miller praised
the efforts of county employees and contractors who have been able to avoid a sewage
discharge in Macomb County over the past several weeks, despite frequent rain, snow and wet
Macomb Department of Public Works Commissioner (MDPWC) Candice Miller organized a tour of federal, state and local officials on Sunday, Jan. 15. Goal was to bring them “face-to-face” with the sinkhole crisis and to seek their help in securing the necessary funding to repair this sewer that services 11 Macomb communities and Selfridge Air National Guard base. Pictured here are State Sen. Steve Bieda, Congressman Sandy Levin, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Commissioner Miller, Senator Gary Peters, AEW Project Manager Louis Urban, and AEW President and CEO Roy Rose.
Work at the site of the 15 Mile sinkhole in Fraser continues on a 24/7 basis. Installation of some
smaller capacity short- and mid-term temporary by-pass piping has been completed. This was
done to reduce the possibility that sewage overflow will divert to resident’s basements, and to
also carry “dry weather” sewage flow around the damaged area of the 11-foot diameter
interceptor, and once-again deposit it back into the interceptor downstream from the damaged
area that is centered at 15 Mile and Eberlein, between Utica Road and Hayes.
At this time, the damaged area of the interceptor is still carrying some flow, and in order for
repairs to continue, it is necessary to proceed with the installation of larger diameter piping
that will effectively carry all of the interceptor’s flow so that the sinkhole area can be secured,
excavated as necessary, and final repairs made in this vital interceptor that serves 11 Macomb
communities, thousands of homes and businesses and more than 500,000 residents. It is
estimated that this work will not be completed until mid-February. Until that time, the
possibility of sewage discharge remains high.
Commissioner Miller also invited Gov. Rick Snyder to visit the sinkhole for a first-hand look, and with the State of Emergency declared by Macomb County and the city of Fraser (now also Clinton Twp.), there is also the request and opportunity for funding and other resource assistance from the state. Participants in the walk-through included Fraser Mayor Joe Nichols, Commissioner Miller, Gov. Snyder, FKE President Fritz Klinger, County Executive Mark Hackel, and AEW’s Roy Rose.
“Water conservation efforts by residents and businesses in the impacted communities has
made a big difference, particularly during the rainy periods of the past two weeks,” Miller said.
“We need neighbors to continue helping neighbors by reducing the amount of water that goes
down the drain.”
The impacted communities are Fraser, Sterling Heights, Utica and New Haven and Chesterfield,
Shelby, Clinton, Harrison, Lenox, Washington, and Macomb townships, plus Selfridge Air
National Guard Base. According to 2015 Census Bureau numbers the communities in the have a
combined total population of 527,772. (Utica and New Haven are 2013 estimates). The
communities have a combined total of more than 43,000 businesses (of all types) according to
2012 Census Bureau data.
Homeowners at this home located at the corner of Eberlein and 15 Mile, noticed “creaking/cracking” noises early in the morning of Christmas Eve, Saturday, Dec. 24, which led to the evacuation of the entire street later that morning. The home has since been condemned, and the owners were able to retrieve some personal belongings on Dec. 30. Engineers have monitored all of the homes since the beginning, and didn’t notice any significant movement in the structure during the prior 24 hours. A handful of engineers and family members made a brief visit to the home on that Friday afternoon to gather all they could in the short time frame available.
The route for the larger diameter temporary new pipeline will begin at Fontana Drive as a 54”
pipe on the south side of 15 Mile in Sterling Heights. It will proceed east on the south side of 15
Mile in the easement between the street and sidewalk to just west of Hayes, where it will cross
15 Mile, from south to north underground, and then cross Hayes above ground north of 15 Mile
where it will connect to a large manifold (a chamber to connect more than one pipe). At the
manifold connection, the service will then become two 48” pipes, placed side-by-side in the
north side easement until they get to the general area of the Green Lantern Pizzeria and
Lounge, and at this point, the pipes will cross 15 Mile underground to the south side of 15 Mile.
The pipes will then continue above ground east along the south side of 15 Mile, in the
easement and curb lane, to Utica Road. Impacted 15 Mile Road businesses, including Tim
Horton’s, Arby’s, TCF Bank, and the Meijer service station have an entrance/exit available from
the Meijer parking lot with entry off Utica Road.
The original emergency headquarters for the sinkhole project were located at the Fraser Senior Activity Center, located adjacent to the sinkhole area, and then operations were moved to this storefront location in a strip mall that is located at the corner of 15 Mile and Hayes, also adjacent to the sinkhole site. Safety helmets and vests for the Governor’s visit were lined up and ready to go.
The pipelines will cross Utica Road underground, immediately adjacent to the 32” pipe currently in place, and then continue east in the lane nearest the center lane on 15 Mile. The pipes will be projected by barriers on both sides, and we plan on maintaining three traffic lanes, one eastbound and one westbound, with a center turn lane, between Utica and Garfield Roads.
Unfortunately this route closes the 15 Mile Road entrances/exits for the “Signature Square
Shopping Center,” located at the corner of Utica and Hayes, but the center’s businesses are all
readily available via the entrance/exit on Utica Road.
The curb lane of eastbound 15 Mile will be open for residents who live between Utica Road and
will include those just east of Mercer Lane. This lane will function as a one-lane street for them
to access their homes, with Mercer Lane serving as their outlet.
Senator Stabenow, Senator Peters, new 10 District Congressman Paul Mitchell, Commissioner (and former 10th Congresswoman) Miller, and AEW Project Manager Urban.
The pipes continue east in the lane nearest the center turn lane, to approximately 200 feet
west of Garfield Road where a pumping station is located; there will be seven pumps in
operation at this location to assist in the bypass operations. The sewer flows from east to west,
and this pipeline will serve to reroute the sewage around the damaged section at the sinkhole,
and redeposit it into a large diameter manhole leading to the interceptor at 15 Mile and
According to plans the two 48-inch pipes will be in place by the end of February, and once
they’re in place, and working properly, the 32-inch pipe will be removed, and the entrance/exit
on 15 Mile restored for the Signature Square Shopping Center. We’re estimating this will be
accomplished by the end of March.
The staging area for much of the construction equipment and supplies is located right across the street from our sinkhole headquarters at 15 Mile & Hayes in Clinton Twp. As most know, the sinkhole is located on 15 Mile, between Hayes and Utica Roads.
This rerouting is necessary in order for our engineers and contractors to access the damaged
section of the sewer, make the necessary repairs, and get everything back in order just as soon
Pumps are in place to divert the sewage flow around the damaged section, as well as remaining
in place in the event a significant wet weather event (or further interceptor damage is incurred)
that could cause them to be activated to help reduce the possibility of flooded basements.
In conjunction with the Department of Roads, signage is being prepared that will help to better
identify open businesses, as well as give clear directions to motorists.